actually the question itself is not silly ...and yes just about any time you can prune an older established healthy jm ...otherwise in the fall or winter only and best not to do so in early spring reguardless. ..although most will say only in late fall after leaf drop or winter...you can just about any time if the tree meets those criteria ...My wife trimmed a couple of mine last week and NO sap flow at all . dead stuff can and should be trimed right away anytime spraying your clippers with alchohol or hand sanitizer if you go from a bad spot or tree to a healthy one. But the real problem is do you know how??? ...and will you butcher it ??? ..that is the real question ...if you go real light you should be ok ... if you are a sizzorhands let someone who knows how to or has some artistic sence do so .it will likely grow back but in the meantime you are left with a crappy looking embarrasing tree not the envy of anyone!!!.David
I think JM's not only CAN be pruned; I think they SHOULD be pruned.
It really brings out the natural gracefulness of the trunk and branching structure.
My wife thinks I'm a little too gung-ho with the clippers, so she sometimes hides them.
Fortunately, I have an extra pair.
Wow, that link was informative. Some of the trees did look a lot better for being pruned. I don't think I'll take that much off though. I was thinking more of just a few branches, two or three, tops. I'll show pictures if and when I do it.
Prunning can really help a tree ...but not all trees ... training with poles on uprights is often just as or more important unless you like JM bushes. I actually did no trimming except low branches and dead stuff on all of my Bloodgoods and Atros. they pretty much self prune ...but on young JM's and many upright cultivars it does help . and on dissectums it is ususally much needed over time. My wife pruned my "wild man of Borneo " Orido and it looks a bit thin now but much better ...Before and after photos are really hard ...or I should say after because of thinness mixing with the background ... I will post them next season when the after photo should show better . As I said with dissectums and bushier JM's it is not only advisable but necessary. david
i have two CQ maples that look like this. I plan to trim this one up the weekend. i'll post a picture when done for comments.
I just trimmed up a BG and basically did what David mentioned - only the bottom branches came off to open up the branch structure. It came out pretty in my opinion. I left the top alone. I'llpost both later.
I should mention one drawback to prunnning this time of year , which I do NOT think is a big risk, is disease ... obviosly with heat and humidity ( which we really haven't had ) you do expose yourself to that risk although slight it should be mentioned since you are opening up the tree trough your cuts to such..David
yah that is a nice size tree but ... well ...hummm... oh my... yah it needs a" tiny bit" of trimming trimming or as they say just a little off the sides;>) I would wait til winter on that one that is gonna be a big painstaking adventure and best done when you can see a bit of the actual tree ;>) David
I think that the natural look is lovely and don't mind unpruned trees. I prune mine to keep them in size and to take out awkward limbs, etc. I have a seedling that is 25 feet wide and wants to be a mounder at this point in it's life so I have to keep lightening up the edges so people can walk under it. At one point it was hitting the ground when it rained. I prune in the winter but then it's nice and temperate here. I would find it very hard to prune a tree with a lot of leaves on it though.
The best rule is to take just a little off at a time. You can always take more off later.
I don't often trim mine either and a little bit will do ya is correct but that tree is basically a mess like my oridono was...there is really no way to "sugar coat" it ...but those of you that know me know those two words are not in my vocab. ;>) it has lost it's JM look it is just a big bush...but it is nice size and can easily be made a specimen tree... it reminds me of that large Dissectum someone trimmed last year ...what a mess that was but they REALLY did a good job on it it was super after major surgery ... that thread is somewhere on this site ...it may have been a Tamukeyama I am not sure it was a cinderella story!! David
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm not going to be able to try it until Sunday...I'm off work then. I figure I'll go slowly, do the "cut and step back and examine" thing. Maybe I'll do it in the early morning so there will be less wind.
David - do you know of a key word I could use the find the thread you mentioned. I'd really like to read a bit more before I try anything with this tree.
I have no idea I think it was last summer .. unfortunatly many of the threads are posted with unrelated items ... I try not to do that but often things get "off topic"...and then sometimes newbies don't know how to start their own thread or are afraid to and post questions that need to be answered in someone elses thread...other than trimming and large dissectum I have no idea and I don't know how well key words work here . I don't remember who posted that but I don't think they are still around ( here). If I get a chance I will look a bit but the haystack is large and the needle small .David
here is the post I found it ... hummm It really needs more work ...funny how your mind remembers things...But that was a dissectum too and that is not a displeasing form ...yours is a bit differnt stuation but much of the advice and recommendations are the same except the sourrounding area which is not an encroachment either way in the case of your tree. this may help a bit but I sure remembered that thread badly ..David
I read somewhere online that when your JM seedlings get to be about a foot tall you should you should cut the tops off so that only there are only one or two leaves left. Then, when they put on another 12 inches, chop the tops off again. This is supposed to make the tree branch out and set new branches down low giving it a more desirable shape. Has anyone tried this? I have several nice seedlings, but I am afraid to chop the tops off of them!
Wow that's very interesting to take the top out of the tree every year. I guess if you wanted a multi-trunked form it would be all right. Never heard of the method though. Some of my trees are like that but it just happened naturally. I personally like to leave the top of the tree alone if at all possible.
Humm sounds like a old geezers tale ... and sounds like a good way to get a bush ;>) or pseudo multi-trunked...I guess to each their own and some folks might do this I don't believe it is generally done .Although I have seen some high end wholesale catalogues with choices of upright or multi trunked for same cultivar and ones marked specifically multi trunk ... I have one that is marked that way and well... psuedo multi-trunked is the proper term IMHO but it is an Golden fukll moon type and those arn't bushy trees no matter how they are trimmed... so it would likely work bettwer on some than others ...a seedling will likely become bushy with this method though. In addition they do not come directly out of the ground or at ground like an actual multi trunk tree would be...but I assume they may use that method for this..you will as stated get more branching...but that comes naturally anyway.But even with the non bushy full Moon it will be a more spreading tree as I see it Everyone has there own method i suppose this is one for folks that like bushy low lying trees or "spreaders" ...nothin' wrong with that but it is not "biblical" sancrosant...or necessary. If it were me I would do like Doss and let it naturally grow ...if it looks odd when older you can always prune it I don't think , as i have said, it will work well with a seedling tree...David
Thanks Doss and myersphcf, I would like a nice multi-trunk form, but was afraid of getting bushes. The seedlings are from my Aunt's tree in California and I have no idea what variety they are so I don't know what to expect. I guess I will just risk "ruining" a couple and experiment.
Let us know how it works. I have some multitrunked seedlings that I really love. One of them starts about two feet above the ground and one is multitrunked from the base. I assume that the one that comes from the ground probably started with more than one seedling. If you want a really multitrunked tree I'd do that.
You don't give a zone ( very important) but I assume you are in zone 5b-6b First off I would not plant out if it is small or new I would keep it containerized for a season and garaged this winter in addityiopn I have found fall planting of JM's is a crap shoot ... many do not make it ( at least in northern areas no matter what others say... thats the facts... spring planting after last frost date is best giving the root system and plant a whole growing season to do it's thing. . dissectums are the most touchy with late frosts IE spring of '06...
Ideally it should be out of strong winds and get aboout 5-6 hrs of sun in morn and aft. shade or dappled sun. that should give you plenty of color ...full sun will burn and green and brown it out ... you most likely will get some leaf burn anyway ... but as it grows older it will improve . The garnet will get big so don't put it in too small of area. fetrtilize only in early spring...good luck. please post if you have add. qwuestions...but i wopuld definitely advise anyone in the north against fall planting of jm's period. David
Thanks David. Actually I am very new to the 'zone' subject. I have never seen the a and b used, and am not sure what our zone is, but I have been gardening in many places: Seattle, WA; Ellensburg, WA; Fairbanks, AK; Anchorage, AK; Cold Bay , AK; Bellingham, WA; Grandview, WA; Kennewick, WA; Rochester, NY; Nefane, VT (at elevation 1,200 ft), and now Oswego, NY. I have learned a lot, especially from my mistakes.
The Garnet Japanese Maple is 3-4 ft tall, in a 5 gallon pot. Will this still need wintering over in the garage?
The size is good but as i said planting this time of year is not good ...the root system will not have any time to grow in the soil and the plant itself may have never spent any time outside in cold weather ... an unheated garage offers it cold needed for dormancy ( not near windows) but no wind and a temp maybe 5-10 degrees above the outside... and with just one tree manuvering it in and out in spring ( whjich sometimes is necessary with warm and cold spells will be a snap ... this will also acclimate it to your area better and it's eventual winter long exposure it will eventually get thus getting it use to the winter weather ... even a porch in that large pot would be better IMHO than planting out... leaving it potted this fall will also give you the oppotunity to move it around to get the best or your fav spot for planting it out next spring and thus not make a mistake and end up having to move a big tree in a year or two which no matter what folks say is a big chore... Finally you ONLY have about two-two & 1/2 months to enjoy it outside anyway with leaves so planting it out is not really an advantage this late.so why take a chance..David
This is just my opinion, based on personal experience: If you do decide to plant your JM outside yet this year, do it as soon as possible, and make sure the ground is well prepared and amended with lots of organic matter, not just the hole, but a large surrounding area. In my business, I plant JMs well into late October, with very few casualties in 22 years. With dissectums, there is usually some twig die-back for sure, but if properly planted in a favorable location, kept watered, and mulched well, I think the chances of losing one are slim. After the plant has dropped its leaves for the year, the root system actually keeps growing as long as the ground is not frozen, well into December. Then, in the spring, the roots start growing again well before the plant leafs out, giving it a head start for less favorable conditions in the summer. If you are unsure about the process if over-wintering your JM in the garage, I would "risk" planting it. (By the way, I think you're located in Zone 4B, or maybe even Zone 5, since you're able to benefit from the lake-affect of Lake Ontario.) Good luck.
Anouther thing to watch for is critter damage ...they tend to be much hungrier and will eat more stuff in winterwhen the pickens are thin...I would cage it in chicken wire ...I would not agree with Green on this but he has a right to his opinion ...I DO NOT have 20+ years of experience with JM's but I will say of the few JM's I have lost over the years ( with the exception of the great freeze of '06) 99.9999999% of them have been fall planted...This has NOT been the case with any other type of tree I have planted over many many years...far more than 22 years Fall is a great time to plant most trees and many bushes but I would say JM's are the exception ESPECIALLY if you just got it ESPECIALLY if it came from out west or a nursery got it from out west or elsewhere with differnt enviorment. Some Jm's are prone to late growth others just don't seem to like being thrown into severe situations and some die some peter on and die in future years from bark loss and and varias winter damage and others just DON'T benifit from whatever root growth the get in fall and early winter...very early spring planting they like but I would suggest doing it in late spring so as to avoid late frosts/freezes if youir area is prone to such... a newly planted tree or fall planted one will be really set back if not severely danaged by late frosts especially dissectums which for some reason were hit the worst ( hands down the worst) in the '06 freeze which everyone should always be a little worriesd about even thogh it was a 50 year happening...the farther north you live the more likely you will have at least some late freezes and frosts...although it should be noted in '06 it was the southerners and southeasteners that were hit folks up north were untouched ... that is why it was so unusual a flip in fait,...OH btw if you do get "unlucky" the bright side is all the great healthy / hardy rootstocks you get from the deaths of the grafted trees oh boy happy happy joy joy !!! ;>) David
I have researched to determine my zone, and it is 5a. Thanks Dave and Green for your input. My husband planted two JM's of smaller size in Newfane Vt at 1,200 ft., lots of damage first and every winter. The happiest was under a huge pine tree, however the soil was always a question of ours. Acidic, or VT black. Because we heat our garage in winter, I have selected a protected spot at our 'inset' front door, faceing east, which is opposite the lake, since we are located by a 'bay' and face west towards the water...kind of screwy, but we get our lake effect on the west northwest side of the house, and our wind from the south west...northern's are the coldest of course. You reminded me of the freezing rain a few years back that severely damaged 17 of our 23 full gown trees. The expense of a bucket loader was unthinkable, after a week of lining our four acres with broken tree limbs I realized to restore the buety of the propert, we needed help. One day, while working on these limbs a group of treeclimbers came by and quoted a price. They were waiting to do one of the golfcourses here, and available right then! It was 6-800 dollars I think, and in four hours or less they were done. A few scars on a some, but our willow was a complete success story, after we had thought our favorite tree was a goner.
Just thought I would share my experience on fall jm planting...I got several 4" - 8" seedlings at my Aunt's in Fresno, CA (zone 9a-9b) the first week of October 2007. I carried them on the plane back to northern NJ (zone 6a) and practically threw them in the ground (under the overhang on the south side of the house) with no preparation in the way of mulch / soil amendments in mid-October (same time as our average first frost date). I was kind of hoping they would die because they were too small for me to deal with! Anyway, I didn't look at them again until this past spring when I moved them into a nursery with good soil and mulch (no fertilizer, btw), etc. Despite the abuse that I gave them, they are all doing beautifully now. Can't say why they survived, but they did.
I am not saying they won't survive I just feel they have a better chance not being fall planted ...one thing though Wm ...a seedling is vastly differnt from a grafted cultivar ...even young ones are pretty hardty ( hardier than most grafted trees)...espsecially many dissectums and you are 6a not 5a ... big differnce ... remember those rootstocks that survived the '06 freeze are seedlings..many of the grafts up top did not .of course that may have been in some instances cause they were beneath the surface and came back up ...I had one Emporer 1... about 6 years old die in '06 freeze ...but because I had accidentally planted it too deep ( it was one of the first non seedling trees I had acquired and i was a grafted JM newbe ) it came back up and is slowly becoming an Emporer One tree again.David
I have to agree with David on the seedling issue. I planted 3 grafted trees in the same place and each one died. Then I planted a seedling there and it did just fine. Full sun and wind and nothing can bother it.
I might add that i have been convinced that Jm's on their own roots are really the best way to go as far as hardiness and reliability!!.although you can probably find old posts from me to the contrary ...live and learn!!..but unfortunatatly it is not an easy proposition to achieve with JM's seeds are not true to the cultivar and rooting is generally unsuccessful and not realiable in the long term ( as many growers have found out the HARD way!! ) no matter what folks say ... there are several techniques to do it but most are not easy for mass production.IE: air layering..or even small grower production ... as of yet . One grower I know has a method that does this in a quasy maner that and he posts here ...and it sounds interesting and doable ...but I dare not speak for him . One thing that is good about grafted trees is that , if you buy from a reliable grower, you are actually are assured you are getting the tree you ordered ...if it is not grafted and showing such you will always be a little uncertain you are getting anything but a seedling tree of no repute especially if you are a newbe or a unknowledgable JM'r. "Not that there is any thing wrong with that" unless you paid more than a pittance for it ;>) David
Speaking of seedlings... does anyone else live in an area where the JMs have produced a super-abundance of seedlings this year? I've seen large 'Bloodgood' JMs with literally hundreds of seedlings underneath. I've never seen such crops. Perhaps this is a result of last year's Easter freeze and summer drought. It's been fun digging up dozens of promising seedlings and transplanting them to await what they might develop into in a few years.
Ooops I have been saying '06 freeze it was '07 ...my age shows here!!! your seedling bonanza is not prevelant here although i have seen more than usual especially dissectum ones which i have never seen before... this is all strange though cause in my area I had VERY few seeds last year most trees had NONE...Last year All my older trees had only seconday leaves ( primary were KO'O and no obvious "bloom") ... the year before they seeded heavily ...more heavily than ever before by a long shot...it is possible ( I guess) that your seeds are from 2 years ago sometimes they can take that long and with the adverse and non- condusive conditions both with last spring's debacle and that horridly hot summer... combined with the almost perfect growing conditions this year i would hazzard a guess that that is the anwer. This has been the best year in many a moon that we have had SUCH an acer freindly growing season ...I hope for many more!! David
David: Never thought about seeds taking more than a year to germinate. Reading in Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, he said that "Dried seed from Japan, when pretreated in a normal manner, germinated over a 5 year period." He didn't elaborate the pretreating, so maybe last spring's freeze and the following summer's drought actually "pretreated" the seeds to an advantage. I've certainly never seen so many seedlings in this area. Regardless, it's a bonanza for getting lots and lots of new plants! Thanks for your input. John
My Garnet Weeping Japanese Maple made it through the winter - outside our front door in a protected spot! It was covered to the top by snow at times, banged up by snowballs and kids...with a few lost branches it is ab-o-solutely beautiful today. I transferred it to a 16" X 16" pot a month ago. The offwhite siding of the house is it's backdrop - which makes our front deck and entrance stunning. It stays protected from the harsh winds there. I decided on the pot when I saw how pretty it looked against the house. All the pruning I did last year has given it an artsy-fartsy look. There was no logic in the pruning other than cutting off the dead stuff. I wish I had taken a before and after picture. It is now 3' 4" X 3' 6"H. Every time I look through the windows on our front door...there it is! Because the top has split into two branches...it will never get really tall (I think).
I have been asked to head up a group of volunteers planting at the Health Camp, next to our property, this Saturday (Camp Hollis - Oswego County). I have planted over 40 new perennials this year in our yard (4 acres). I am going to need the right 'subject/category' to get help and advice from. I am in the process of reclaiming a 'wild' area by the Camp's new sign - that is going up very soon - and will be located at the corner of our property. It is quite the Joint effort in our community. Many people involved county wide. Local business' have donated plants, building materials, five yards of dirt, a Local artist painted the new sign (which has been kept secret until the Ceremony/Unvailing day...date unknown - has been in works for years).
The more I look at it the more I want to get rid of it altogether. The main issue I have with it is that it is a medium height plant and it is planted at the very front edge of the flower bed. There is a huge section of the flower bed that is completely hidden by the tree.
The bed is very over-grown and weedy simply because it is out of site-out of mind behind this tree.
There is one other option. You could take out the foliage at the bottom of the tree and perhaps take out some of the lower limbs. For branches that are flopping, trim them back part way to a leaf node and they will spring up. I have to do that with a seedling maple I have every other year or so. If I don't then the limbs end up touching the ground during rain storms. I've included the photo so you can see where you might end up.
Or perhaps that's just not the place for that tree and you need to transplant it or give it away. They aren't hard to move.
I jump at the chance to prune a JM. I donít care whos it is. They look so much better if kept cleaned up, light and airy. I think it does take a combination of both artistic ability and knowledge of how trees grow while keeping in mind where you want the tree to go (grow).
No one taught me how to do it. I just know that you should take off suckers, remove branches that cross or rub, shorten those that lay on the ground, prune to a point with a bud that will grow in the direction you want the plant to go and remove dead branches.
You can plant a JM closer to a house than what is recommended or in a smaller place if you learn to prune to control the size while keeping it looking natural. Like doing Bonsai on a bigger scale. Donít just look at what the tree looks like now, picture what it will look like once it grows. If you are unsure how much to take off, just do a little at a time, then give yourself time (days, weeks or months) to look at it. You can always take off more but it is harder to put it back on.
I used to have a couple no names, a red upright and a red cutleaf weeper, that I taught myself to prune on. I had to leave them when the previous property was sold but I am now getting back into JMís at the new house starting with a 36Ē Crimson Queen. Not big enough to prune yet but I will be keeping my eye on it so it will grow where I want it to. I will probably do at least one green upright JM, havenít researched them yet to see which will be right for me.
Doss, that is a great example of pruning. It not only makes the tree look better, it hilights the structure of the branches while making a nice clean and airy canopy. It also gives you the room for underplanting.
Without proper pruning you end up with what looks like a bush instead of looking like a tree. Just take your time and do clean cuts that can heal over easily.
My Garnet Japanese Maple made it through Winter number 2, in a 16"X16" pot on our front sheltered deck. I gave it more exposure than last year. I took it out from under the eave and gave it more wind exposure. The dimensions are now 4' tall by 5' wide (measuring from the dirt around the trunk.) It has become rootbound. The cost of larger pots is CRAZY. The branches hang down below dirt level by up to four inches. It is stunning and has a very 'artsy fartsy' bonzai look, despite my 'novice' abilities.
Doss, I have been unsuccesful in loading my program for my canon camera. I do not have the correct minimum screen resolution. I have been trying to change the resolution on the monitor, but I am not very computer literate. I may have to get a new monitor.
Your zone is much warmer!
I found out from a retail seller of pots where she gets her inventory! How sweet! She even provided me with a map and address to get there!